Government of Karnataka and Smile Train India Renew Partnership to Treat Children Born with Clefts


2nd year of partnership under Rashtriya Bal Kalyan Karyakaram (RBSK) focuses on intensifying the programs to reach out to more children

Bengaluru, Nov 14, 2016: Smile Train India — an international children’s NGO and Rashtriya Bal Kalyan Karyakram (RBSK) under the Ministry of Health, Karnataka have signed a MoU to partner for the 2nd year in a row.

Under the partnership, RBSK officials from 24 districts in Karnataka will direct children born with cleft lips and palates to 9 Smile Train partner hospitals in Karnataka for free cleft lip and palate surgery. Smile Train will provide free cleft lip and palate surgeries, and post-operative care to the children.

The partnership, now in its 2nd year, looks at intensifying its outreach so that more children can benefit from the free surgeries and get a chance to lead a normal life. Last year, the partnership helped heal clefts of over 2000 children in Karnataka alone. In last 15 years, Smile Train has provided more than 32,000 free cleft lip and palate surgeries in the state of Karnataka.

The surgeries will be provided at Smile Train centers across the state- Mangalore (A J Hospital and Research Centre, K.S. Hegde Charitable Hospital), Davangere (SIIMS Hospital), Bangalore (Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital), Belgaum (KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital and MRC), Raichur (M.K. Bhandari Hospital), Gulbarga (Medicare Multispeciality Hospital), Dharwad (SDM College of Dental Sciences and Hospital) and Mysore (Vikram Hospital and Heart Care).

The MoU was signed by Dr. P Saroja, Project Director (Reproductive and Child Health program), National Health Mission and Leela Imam, Director Programs, Smile Train India. Dr. Arif Baig (Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram Consultant), Dr. Prabhudeba Gowda (Deputy Director, Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram) were also present during the signing of MoU.

While signing the MoU, Leela Imam, Director Programs, Smile Train India said “We are excited about strengthening the partnership with RBSK. The support of the large network of State mobile health teams and Anganwadi workers at the grassroot level will enable Smile Train and network of partner hospitals to reach out to every child born with cleft lip and palate in the State of Karnataka. More than 10 lakh untreated cases of cleft exist in the country, due to monetary constraints or lack of awareness. Together, we can bridge the gap and heal the cleft."

Dr. P. Saroja, Project Director (Reproductive and Child Health program) National Health Mission said` RBSK Karnataka has entered into a memorandum of understanding on 10-11-16 with Smile Train, an international NGO specifically working in the field of cleft lip and palate. Under this MoU children from birth to 18 years are identified under Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) and treated free of cost for the cleft deformities through a chain of hospitals having specialized surgeons for the purpose. Smile train has 09 hospitals in its network through which the services are given to the children across the state’

About Smile Train India:
Smile Train India is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate. In India, over 35,000 children are born with clefts every year and over 10 lakh children with untreated clefts live in isolation, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is simple, and the transformation is immediate. Since the year 2000, Smile Train’s sustainable model provides training, funding, and resources to empower local doctors and hospitals across India to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. This ‘teach a man to fish’ strategy has enabled Smile Train India to provide over 4,75,000 free surgeries through a network of 170 partner hospitals.To learn more about how Smile Train India’s sustainable approach has both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit

Cleft Facts: India
• Every year, 35,000 children in India are born with clefts
• Less than 50% of cleft children get treatment due to ignorance and poverty
• 10 lakh children in India with untreated clefts live a life of isolation, bullied and teased for their appearance
• More importantly, the children have difficulty in breathing, eating and speaking
• A surgery which takes as little as 45 minutes can correct this birth defect

Smile Train has provided more than 4,75,000 free cleft surgeries in India and over 32,000 cleft surgeries in Karnataka.